I’m a very lucky girl…well, a very lucky old girl. My children and grandchildren live close by, all 15 of them, so I can see them as often as we can fit into our busy schedules. I try to see them one on one and as a family whenever we can. I’m so happy to be here to see them grow up – and that includes my own children.

With eight grandchildren, six boys and two girls, one in college, four in high school, two in middle school, and one in Kindergarten, there are lots of ball games, assemblies, grandparents’ days, graduations and, of course, birthdays and holidays. I’ve realized that there is one unique event that has become very special to me – high school football games.

I’ve got grandkids playing varsity football, baseball and soccer and the younger ones playing volleyball, baseball and basketball, so there are plenty of games to see. The difference in the football games is that everyone tends to go to those. I’m not making a judgment because I sometimes have this happen at baseball or soccer games, but football is the one right now. We’ll hope for more crowds at the other sports.

At family gatherings of any kind, I love to sit back and watch the kids, and I include my kids and grandkids in the word kids, interact with each other. Sometimes, I’m probably too quiet, hiding behind my camera, watching them.

At the football games, I have the ultimate fly on the wall experience with my family. This season, I have a grandson, a senior, playing center on the team. His father is the president of the football parents and he sometimes announces games. Since he is a comedian by nature and sometimes avocation, as well as a former football player who knows the game, he is well appreciated by the crowd. His wife, my youngest daughter, is in the crowd cheering for her guys. Did I mention that most of us graduated from the same high school the kids go to? That adds to the fun with our third generation of Eagles.

My middle daughter is one of the leaders of the soccer parents group (don’t know her exact title, but she works hard) and they are running the concession stand this year to raise money for the soccer team. I can find her there and can watch her leadership skills in action. Her husband is in the crowd – another alum.

My oldest daughter and her husband come to see the games and cheer for their nephew and watch the kids. They are active in the baseball parents group. And my daughter-in-law, another alum, brings the Kindergartener to the games when she can.

I can sit with my big kids in the stands, or I don’t even mind sitting alone, watching everyone go by. Besides the fun of the band and pom and cheer squads, I’m cheering for my grandson and taking pictures – because that’s what I do. DSC_0052Last week, my grandson was one of the team captains, a proud moment for all.DSC_0006 Besides the game, I’m watching the students interact, seeing how my grandkids act with their friends. Even though they wave at me or sometimes come sit for a minute and say hi, they are mostly oblivious to my being there. I get to be that fly on the wall, watching them in their own world. Here’s my tall grandson, the senior soccer player, leading the student section, cheering for the team and his cousin and friends. I love the diversity of this school, which was once as white as white could be. DSC_0056My grandsons, who are sophomores, are beginning to participate more. They’re the best of buddies since birth and tend to hang out together as they make their way through the awkward social strata of high school. One drives and one has his learner’s permit, so they’re entering that scary world. Well, scary for parents and grandparents.DSC_0011The two eighth graders, a boy and a girl, are not into hanging together as much as they did when they were very little, and they roam the stands with their own posses, although I see them acknowledge each other here and there. They are usually looking for their parents in the stands to ask for money for snacks.DSC_0116I also see the cousins interact, which makes me happy. You can’t beat that feeling.  DSC_0088During some games, my oldest grandson shows up, home from college to pick up his girlfriend, a senior. He’s the alum now, welcomed by his friends who are still in high school or catching up with friends also at the game. He was the senior spirit leader last year but stays away from the student section now. He’s past that – or knows that the seniors need to have their own year.DSC_0134There is so much to take in, watching my kids go by. I can see my own children interacting with their friends, greeting other parents they know through their kids. Again, it’s nice to see the parents greeting, hugging and cheering with other parents, forgetting racial and other differences. It gives you hope.

Through my fly on the wall position, I can hear the music, see the trends, and keep up with a little of what’s going on in the world of teenagers. I can check the expressions and body language of my most precious loved ones. I can see how they are doing in a world that I am really removed from in their daily lives, but get a taste of at the football games. I hope this is what heaven lets me do – watch them from above, sending love and support their way.

Mostly, I rejoice in the fact that I am there and can watch them grow up. I take pride in the fact that they are all adjusting well to their world, making friends, participating in activities, learning about life. I can see their smiles and watch them laugh with their friends. You know what? It makes my heart sing.